A man who failed to turn up at court to be sentenced for a theft offence assaulted a police officer who came to arrest him, a court has heard.

Blackburn Magistrates' Court heard how Craig Grant claimed it had been "reckless" when he headbutted the officer.

Grant, 50, of Islington House, Great Bolton Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker and theft of Milwaukee stacking boxes, a mobile phone and a laptop worth £9,000, belonging to John Higham.

Suzanne Ludlow, prosecuting, said a patrolling police officer had seen Grant and his co-accused pulling the boxes in the early hours of the morning.

She stopped them and asked what they were doing and they said they had found the tool boxes, phone and laptop in nearby woodland.

"All the property was recovered and returned to the owner," said Miss Ludlow.

She said the co-accused, Mark Craig had been given a community order for the offence but Grant failed to attend and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

When an officer went to arrest Grant became aggressive and resisted. The officer managed to get his left hand in a handcuff and warned him to stop resisting.

"He suddenly snapped his head forwards and headbutted the officer," said Miss Ludlow.

"The officer delivered some defensive strikes to prevent any further assaults and then pepper sprayed him."

Richard Prew, in mitigation, said his client had been grabbed by the officer when he had his arm over the back of a chair.

"During the struggle he put his head up and he would say the contact was reckless and not intentional," said Mr Prew.

Magistrates made Grant subject to a community order for 12 months with six months Drug Rehabilitation Requirement, 10 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days, and 150 hours unpaid work for the theft offence.

He was sentenced to 11 weeks in custody, suspended for 12 months for the assault. He was ordered to pay £100 compensation to the officer, £85 costs and a £154 victim surcharge.